RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – 8News got results this week for families left without heat for more than three weeks amid freezing temperatures.
The outage was reported in Gilpin Court, where some parents were all but certain their children would be cold on Christmas morning. Less than 24 hours after 8News got involved, the heat was back on.
“It’s amazing,” said Tyesha Knight, who was all smiles as she told 8News that reaching out to our news team helped get the heat back on for her family and several neighbors.
“They came out here today, knocked on my door and said, ‘You don’t have any heat?’ I said, ‘I’ve been calling!” Knight said. “Five minutes later, two guys went out back and the heat came on. I was so happy.”
8News initially met the mother of four at her St. James Street apartment on December 21.
“We’ve had no heat here in a little over three weeks now,” Knight had told reporter Matthew McClellan.
Since her apartment went cold in early December, Knight had called the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority, only to get the run-around.
“I called the lady she’s like, ‘well it’s a problem in your area and we’re working on it,’” Knight said.
Maintenance workers did drop off two small space heaters, which Knight had been moving from room to room in order to keep her family warm.
“It’s made it hard on me,” she said. “I have sickle cell, trying to stay warm in here with the temperature dropping.”
Next door, Tameka Hicks was also struggling to keep her kids from being cold.
“They wake up multiple times saying they’re cold. Sometimes I put them in the bed with me,” Hicks said.
Some neighbors were reportedly going to extremes to heat their homes, burning their ovens and piling entire families into single rooms to stay warm.
8News started calling RRHA as soon as residents reported the three-week heating outage, telling the agency our news team was looking into the matter. We did not get an explanation for the heating problems, but within a day’s time, Knight and her neighbors were once again warm inside their homes.
“We really do appreciate them coming here when they did, right in time for Christmas so my kids wouldn’t have to wake up to a cold Christmas,” Knight told 8News.
Knight and her neighbors reached out to 8News to let us know about this story.